Eating do's and don'ts for pregnant women
- By Team TDO
Every mother wants her children to eat healthy and stay away from junk food. And since you are about to be mother, there are few things which you need to follow when it comes to diet and nutrition. It's only fair that you follow the diet you want your kids to follow. Besides the child inside you eats what you eat. So give it a try - healthy diet may not necessarily be always tasteless.
What should a mom-to-be eat?
An important nutrient crucial for both mom and baby is DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, needed for the development of nervous system and visual abilities during the first six months of life. Sources are walnuts, green vegetables, and soybean. Oily fish like mackerel are also good source. Don't eat fish more than twice a week.
Most of women are working today. Carry a healthy snack with you if you have to travel a long distance to work. Make preparations the night before. Make sure you never go without breakfast. Some good daily breakfast options could be fruits like apples, oranges, pears, or bananas in combination with idlis, dosa, dhokla, or vegetable upma.
Magnesium is important for growth of the baby's bones. Add foods like green salads, soya beans, whole grains, and nuts to the diet to get magnesium. Foods like meat, dried beans, and peanut butter are full of proteins essential for baby's growth as well. Add these to the diet.
Diet with high fibre content is essential to avoid constipation during pregnancy. Oats, whole wheat bread or roti are good sources. Figs and black raisins help normal and regular bowel movement during pregnancy. These act as natural remedies for constipation.
Vitamin D is needed for absorption of calcium, obtained from milk and eggs. Supplements might be needed. Make a habit of drinking steamed milk. This will reduce nausea and help proper growth of bones, nails and teeth of baby. Calcium and vitamin D also helps in healthy bone and teeth growth in the baby. To meet daily calcium requirement of 1,000 mg, consider eating two or more of the following foods every day - a cup of fat-free milk, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and grated cheese.
Fats are vital for healthy pregnancy and essential for baby's growth and development. Good fat foods are eggs, dairy products, flax seed, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Plenty of iron is needed during pregnancy to prevent anaemia. It helps to form blood cells of baby. Lentils, pulses, spinach, fortified cereals, meat, and fish are good sources.
Seafood and iodised salt are richest sources of iodine. It is necessary for proper development and functioning of the thyroid gland of the baby. Cereals, pulses, and fresh fruits are good sources too.
Add a source of vitamin C to diet. It helps better absorption of iron. Consider drinking orange juice or nimbu pani. Vitamin A is needed for healthy vision, skin, and cell development and is present in carrots, papaya, oranges, spinach, and broccoli.
Intake of vitamin K is also important. Spinach, green vegetables, and musk melons are good sources of this vitamin.
Women need to eat five portions of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables daily to get vitamins and minerals. Eat them raw or steam them to get maximum benefits. Consume home-made fruit juice.
Water helps to carry nutrients from mother's blood to the baby. Make sure to drink 8-10 glasses a day. It helps prevent constipation and dehydration. Add healthy drinks like skimmed milk, coconut water, lemon juice or banana shake to your daily diet to ensure hydration.
It is a time to stick to good eating habits consistently. This will not only help you go through pregnancy smoothly and give birth to healthy baby, but also help to lose post pregnancy weight easily.
And what should a mom-to-be avoid?
Do not eat out very often. If you are eating out, go for healthy options instead of spicy or junk food. Try out different dishes to fulfill all the nutrition requirements.
Be careful about food and drinks which have curd, raw vegetables, water or ice when you are eating outside. Women are more prone to infection during pregnancy. Eat only at places that have good hygiene levels.
Avoid transfat foods like chips, cookies, cakes, or crackers. Transfats cross the placenta and reach the growing baby, and can cause obesity or diabetes later.
Do not skimp on any of the meals in order to keep energy levels up. Irregular meals may cause acidity.
Avoid fatty, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, and citrus fruits if you have hyper acidity, heartburn or indigestion.
Say no to alcohol and smoking. The baby is exposed to harmful chemicals such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide when the mother smokes. Alcohol has adverse impact on the physical and mental development of the child, a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Do not diet or fast during pregnancy. It can lead to deficiency of important vitamins and minerals.